I have never been to a concert before. However, a lot of people have told me that Coldplay concerts are the best ones. In the Spring of 2016, Coldplay performed during the Super Bowl’s Halftime Show. After listening (and watching) them, I started exploring their music. One song that I really liked was “Viva La Vida“. The song appealed to me because I see it as controversial. The song itself, literally, tells the story of Napoleon’s last moments before his death. It describes the French Revolution in absolute detail and all of the lyrics tie back to one theme: power will inevitably be corrupted. So, in this song, the chorus shows everyone’s awareness of the death of Napoleon, which is soon approaching. Because of that, another big idea emerges: live your life with no regrets. In fact, the phrase “Viva La Vida” is never spoken nor sang in the song itself. However, “Viva La Vida” is Spanish for “live (your) life”. Does that connect to the theme? Yep. So, where and how does Latin play a role in this? Well, the lead singer in Coldplay, Chris Martin, graduated in Classics (both Greek and Latin) at University College London. Vivir, the Spanish verb for “to live”, can easily be traced back to vivere, the Latin verb for “to live”.
A little over a week ago, Taylor Swift made a huge comeback into the music industry after taking a little break; she released a single, called ‘Look What You Made Me Do’, and its music video. In the video, she shows all of her previous phases and outfits. However, that is not the biggest part of the video. According to the Toronto Sun, and many other newspapers, Taylor Swift was in a bathtub with 10 million US Dollars worth of jewelry. Neil Lane had to take diamonds out of his personal vault and loan it to her for the video production. That fact really surprised me, but what astounded me even more was that there was an engraving on both arms of the throne she was sitting on. The engraving is ‘ET TU BRUTE’. Latin reference anyone?
“Et tu, Brute?” are what most people perceive Caesar’s last words to be. He ‘said’ that after he found out that Brutus had betrayed him along with the many senators. Shakespeare popularized that line in his play, Julius Caesar. However, most historians disagree with Shakespeare and his dramatization of the play. Suetonius, a century and a half later, says that Caesar died saying “Kai su, teknon?”, which is Greek for “You too, my son?”. However, “Et tu, Brute?” and its meaning has become one of the most popular lines from Shakespeare. That phrase symbolizes Caesar’s shock for when he found out that Brutus was involved with the plans for his assassination. I believe that the reason Taylor Swift included that as a tiny part of her music video is because its her indirect way of saying, “trust no one; even your closest friends will betray you”. This ties in with the theme of the music video because the whole video revolves around the fact that everyone close to her ended up betraying her, so now she won’t depend on anyone ever again, including herself.
Recently, The Chainsmokers released a song, “Something Just Like This”, with Coldplay. The lyrics in this song mention “Achilles and his gold” and “Hercules and his gifts”. Chris Martin, in these lyrics, is comparing himself to two different mythological heroes: Achilles and Hercules. Achilles was a hero in Greek mythology, one of the main protagonists in Homer’s Iliad. Achilles had a helmet and a shield made of gold and silver. These two things protected him when he fought the Trojans. Hercules, also mentioned in the song, was another hero who is/was known for his superhuman strength. His gifts are that he has a lot of power and he’s tougher than all mortals and most gods. In this song, Chris compares himself to these two heroes, as well as Spiderman and Batman, saying that he’s just an average man. He says that he’s not looking for anybody who’s perfect, but, instead, somebody who makes him feel more than an average human, somebody whom he can love and depend on.